Flesh in the Valley by Sudha Koul

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 9.40.53 AMKitchen hierarchy, tradition, religion and how things taste inform and flavor this memoir of life in Kashmir.

We might have a modern kitchen now, but I look forward to the formal occasions when our old cook, Sudarshan, now a venerable grandfather, comes back to cook for us. He will never touch a gas range if his life depends on it, and within moments of his arrival the old hearth fires are ablaze once again, crackling as they joyously send fountains of red and yellow embers into the chimney. The flames remember and find their way to the base of an entombed man-tall vessel, heating up the water inside. We now use the hot water from the old bathroom only for doing the dishes in the kitchen, but it feels good to have the medieval water-heater called up from retirement once in a while.

Continue reading this memoir here at ‘A Matter of Taste’.


2 thoughts on “Flesh in the Valley by Sudha Koul

  1. For those who think a gas range is the old-school way to cook, it’s great to have the reminder that there are even older schools! With a little autumn chill in the air this morning, a hearth fire doesn’t sound so bad. 🙂


  2. Sharon – I have friends whose ‘job’ it is to do historical cooking – among the techniques they use is open hearth cooking. I’m so impressed by the skill that goes into that old school of cooking. And am awed at the physical strength and stamina needed! This cooler weather today does allow for thinking of the smell of a wood fire, though, doesn’t it. 🙂


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